As the economic situation in Venezuela goes into freefall, and the comic opera Marxist government continues to show itself clueless, the Bishops of Venezuela have released a letter which should be mandatory reading for every Catholic. Here is an informal google translation:
Pastoral exhortation ethical and spiritual renewal tackle the crisis
ETHICS AND SPIRITUAL RENEWAL IN THE CRISIS
1. With deep and renewed hope in God, at the beginning of this year 2015 the Bishops of Venezuela salute all Venezuelans, and lift our prayers to God for the welfare and peace of the country. In the midst of the problems that beset us, we have seen in Christmas light of Jesus, our Divine Savior (Luke 2: 9), who encourages us to go forward, faithful to his word, to build a better world. Trusting again we share with our people some concerns about the current situation, to help resolve the crisis we face.
IN THE MIDST OF A GENERAL CRISIS
2. The first part of 2014 was marked by strong political and social upheaval. At this time the bishops strongly express our rejection of all violence, whatever its origin and authors, as she was a balance of 43 dead and many injured, which we deplore without distinction of social or political groups; denounce the excessive use of force in the suppression of protests and the detention of thousands of people, many of them still in prison or subject to filing criminal courts or other restrictive measures of liberty; and we express our condolences and solidarity with the victims and their families. There are numerous reports of human rights violations including torture of detainees, which must be addressed and punished the perpetrators of these crimes.
3. That grave crisis raised the need for dialogue between government leaders, opposition and other sectors. Thanks, among other things, called the Pope Francis and participation of the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop. Aldo Giordano, he began a dialogue which unfortunately was not the first meetings.
4. This situation has been joined in recent months generalized anxiety of the people by the economic crisis that we suffer, as is subjected unseen difficulties to access basic necessities. A huge external debt, which jeopardizes the future of Venezuelans, the unbridled inflation, devaluation of our currency, smuggling mining and commodity shortages have led to the increasing impoverishment of large sectors of the population, particularly those with fewer resources economic. This crisis is compounded by administrative corruption, centralism, looting the treasury currency, the recent decline in oil prices, and the ineffectiveness of the measures and plans being implemented by the Government to address it.
5. We also have a situation of worsening social violence. Offensive language, the systematic exclusion to any contrary opinion, incite fanaticism and irrationality. The crisis of public insecurity is intolerable. Unfortunately the efforts and programs developed by the government to control this scourge have failed. To this add serious problems in the health field, such as viral epidemics unaddressed efficiently, lack of medicines, medical supplies and equipment throughout the country. Moreover, the death of over forty inmates in the prison of Uribana reveals a tragic situation in our prison system should be reformed completely.
A WRONG WAY
6. The greatest problem and the cause of the general crisis, as we have noted elsewhere, it is the decision of the national government and other public bodies to impose a political–economic system of socialist Marxist or communist. This system is totalitarian and centralist, establishes state control over all aspects of life of citizens and public and private institutions. Also threaten freedom and rights of individuals and associations and has led to oppression and ruin to all countries that have applied.
7. This decision is evidenced, inter alia, in contempt of any proposal other than the official, in the development of a communication hegemony coming and limits the activities of independent media in order to control the unions, the judicial persecution of political dissent, in the multiplication of laws, regulations and procedures that hinder private sector action, even those non-profit organizations that are dedicated to promoting social welfare works. Also it is manifested in the recent appointment of Governing the National Electoral Council of some judges of the Supreme Court and the authorities of Citizen Power according to partisan interests, which does not reflect the political plurality of the country and Assembly national, and has led to legal and ethical questioning of the procedures used. Again we say: Marxist socialism is the wrong way, and therefore should not be set in Venezuela.
URGENCY OF CONSULTATION AND DIALOGUE EFFECTIVE
8. For all these reasons we propose dialogue as essential to achieve consensus and resolve the serious problems of our country through again. Now, sincere and effective dialogue changes and agreements providing good of all, it is only possible with a transcendental hope that mobilizes the majority of Venezuelans – of all political-trends with essential values for regeneration country. Moreover, the National Assembly should be the first instance of dialogue and respect for political pluralism in Venezuela.
9. To achieve consensus requires absolute respect for human rights, and rule excessive violence in the control of legitimate expressions of people by state officials. You also need to release political prisoners and stop using the judicial system to intimidate political opponents and disabling. Freedom of expression and the existence of independent media must be respected.
10. The restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States after 53 years of fighting, prompted by the mediation of Pope Francis reveals that intransigent positions and radical, are sterile, and finally must give way to encounter and dialogue.
CALLED TO LIABILITY
11. The National Government and all authorities must take responsibility in solving the problems facing the country, activating the necessary corrective measures to prevent the worsening crisis. The leaders of public bodies, beyond the procedures that were designated, must exercise their duties with fairness and justice, considering that God and Fatherland judge and punish those who commit any injustice and violate the oath to act all right.
12. Likewise the leaders of the various political, business, labor and cultural sectors should be involved in solving these serious problems. The opposition leaders are obliged to present a common project for the country and work for the good of Venezuela, overcoming the temptations of personalism. The military must act with impartiality postulated by the Constitution. The political forces and the Venezuelan people in general should reject all violence. If we all act with the weapon of nonviolence, we can reconstruct the social coexistence, the constitutional order and internal peace of the Republic.
13. And it should be emphasized that each of us, as citizens, have political responsibilities can not be delegated. In exercising this responsibility must exercise and defend actively and steadily, always with peaceful means, our rights and the rights of others and demand respect for the conditions for a just, peaceful and beneficial for all national coexistence.
14. A great opportunity to exercise that political responsibility for this year are elections for the National Assembly. Political actors must apply for properly selected and capable of high responsibility, moral qualities and spirit of service to the people. We call on all voters to participate, because the vote of each of us depends on the composition of the future Assembly, important factor in solving the country’s problems. The National Electoral Council has an inescapable moral obligation to act with transparency and impartiality, without promoting changes which adversely justice and fair representation of the population. We also have a duty to improve the electoral system so that there is no ventajismos of any group, and state resources are not used to promote any candidate.
SOCIAL ECONOMIC REFORM AND RENEWAL
15. The economic system that is imposing the Government is clearly ineffective. It is necessary that, aside rigid ideological conceptions failed and the desire to control everything, the Government implement reforms that remove barriers to production, stop inflation, and solve the shortages and the high cost of basic necessities. Including through promoting the private sector in the economy, enshrined in the Constitution.
16. Venezuela needs a new entrepreneurial spirit with audacity and creativity. It is urgent to stimulate production industry and giving legal certainty and promoting efficient companies, both public and private. But it is also necessary to observe an ethical, honest and upright conduct. Recall that corruption wrongly charged for any procedure, speculation on prices, want to make money without working, fraud, are evils and sins that must be banished from the national life and behavior of all citizens, particularly of state officials.
17. The security must urgently act with greater commitment and effectiveness within the framework of the Constitution and laws to ensure personal and property security of Venezuelans, effectively combat insecurity, and submit to the crime, which cause so much pain all social sectors. In the working world must uphold the legitimate rights of workers to the union. In the health field the Government must address current serious deficiencies, improve network hospital and social utility, and remedy and definitely shortages of medicines and medical equipment.
18. To achieve a profound social renewal is necessary that all we promote and we support strongly the family unit, as the family is the fundamental unit of society. We deplore the emigration of thousands of Venezuelans who disintegrates families and constitutes an impoverishment of our human talent. It should also promote, at all levels, a new national climate of cooperation, brotherhood, understanding, oblivious to the confrontation, exclusion and polarization. This is necessary especially in communities of recent residential developments in the Great Housing Mission Venezuela, to help them live as good neighbors and brothers in a new situation for them.
ETHICS AND SPIRITUAL RENEWAL
19. The serious crisis we face in Venezuela reveals a deeper situation: a moral crisis of values, attitudes, motivations and behaviors that must be corrected. We have to overcome attitudes as the desire for easy wealth and corruption, political arrogance, arrogance and lust of power, selfishness, laziness, hatred and violence. And we have to rescue the principles of legality, legitimacy and morality that support the fabric of social life. We are convinced that it is possible country in which democracy, with effective and healthy institutions, where every person and the whole society to develop their initiatives, overcome and commitment to the promotion of the common good. The practice of personal and civic virtues, which was fine example Venerable Dr. José Gregorio Hernández is required
20. Therefore, as pastors of the Church in Venezuela, make an insistent call to moral conversion, and the fulfillment of the commandments of God’s law. You need to listen and fulfill the word of God, path to personal and social happiness (Lk 11: 28), who invites us to revive the best of ourselves, love of neighbor to build a Venezuela renewed life together where bloom dignity and rights of all.
21. This national crisis will not be resolved in its entirety without a moral and spiritual renewal that lead to concrete action lines. We can not believe in God and act in any way. Reject injustice, corruption and violence as moral evils that plunge the country, and live according to the project of the Kingdom of God preached by Jesus Christ. As Pope Francis reminds us: “It’s about loving God who reigns in the world. To the extent that he achieves reign among us, the social life will field of fraternity, justice, peace, dignity for all “(Evangelii Gaudium 180).
PUT OUR HOPE IN CHRIST
22. Dear brothers and sisters: this dramatic analysis we do with pain, born of our proximity to the suffering people, and pastoral mission that drives us to be promoters of human dignity and peace. We feel solidarity with those who feel particularly anxious, distressed and anxious about the current situation. We express our determination and commitment to personal and community renewal in line with the demands of the Gospel proclaimed by Pope Francis, and to continue working to bring firm hope and God’s comfort to the needy, in line with the option for the poor.
23. In the midst of this crisis, we proclaim Christ crucified and risen Christ is our hope. He overcame adversity and evil. He gives us his Holy Spirit to renew the world. Hope is not passivity and conformism. Despite the difficulties foreseen for this year, Christians know that we are in God’s hands. In Jesus, “God with us” (Mt 1: 23), we place our trust. No defeatism, act with enthusiasm to overcome the crisis we face.
24. With these sentiments and with great affection, implore upon all the inhabitants of our beloved country the blessings of God and the maternal protection of Mary, the Virgin of Coromoto, patron of Venezuela. Amen.
Caracas, January 12, 2015